From jazz-focused conversations to creative-fueled celebrations, MPAP offers several February events to celebrate the artistry and power of black culture.

Harriet Tubman illustrated the power of the imagination when she said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” Tubman’s renowned and selfless acts—which included helping hundreds of slaves escape via the Underground Railroad, and assisting former slaves as they built new lives—constitute the power of looking beyond the present to envision a brighter future.

Throughout February, in celebration of Black History Month and with Tubman’s words in mind, NYU Steinhardt’s Music and Performing Arts Professions (MPAP) will host an array of creative events that celebrate the dreamers who continue to think beyond their present moment. From conversations with jazz legends to a night encouraging the freedom of expression, there are numerous opportunities to imagine, create, and engage. See the full list below.

Tuesday, February 11, 12:00 p.m.
In Conversation with Lenny White
Kimball Hall (246 Greene St.)

This conversation between jazz legend Lenny White and MPAP chair and musician Dave Schroeder spans White’s incredible 50-year career, touching on his numerous collaborations with leading music icons.

Credited with being one of the founding fathers of jazz fusion, Lenny White is a Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer. He played on Miles Davis’ landmark 1969 album Bitches’ Brew and Freddie Hubbard's 1970 album Red Clay. In 1972, he joined the famed jazz group Return to Forever, led by pianist Chick Corea, and went on to release seven albums with them. He’s also released numerous studio albums, beginning with 1975’s Venusian Summer. White has been a member of NYU Steinhardt’s Jazz Studies Program since 2017.

Wednesday, February 12, 2:00 p.m.
Equity, Inclusion and Justice Series: From Behind the Bridge to The Impossible Dream
Kimball Hall (246 Greene St.), 1st floor lounge

Alumnus and music educator Akini Gill (’14) will discuss his biography, From Behind the Bridge to the Impossible Dream. In it, Gill—a gifted steel pan player—chronicles his journey from Trinidad and Tobago to academic excellence at NYU as an individual with multiple learning disabilities. Gill’s is a story of love, unyielding grit, faith, and hope. Hosted by NYU Steinhardt’s Office of Faculty Diversity & Development and the Music Education Program.

Thursday, February 20, 7:00 p.m.
Student Movie Night: Queen & Slim
Black Box Theatre, Pless Hall (82 Washington Square East)

Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith star in this heightened drama about a couple who, after an awkward first date, wind up on the run after they kill a cop in an act of self-defense. Queen & Slim was co-written by Lena Waithe (“Master of None”) and directed by Melina Matsoukas (“Master of None,” “Insecure”), both first-time feature filmmakers. The event is free, but open only to NYU students.

Friday, February 21, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
The Freedom of Expression (Words, Sounds, and Action)
Pless Hall (82 Washington Square East), 1st Floor

10 acts from across NYU Steinhardt will pay tribute to the diversity and beauty of black culture through an array of creative performances. Students will share stories, music, theatrical pieces, and more inspired by black culture. Brass Studies program director Wayne Dumaine will host.

Saturday, February 22, 7:00 p.m.
Black History Month Celebration Through the Arts—Harriet Tubman
Frederick Loewe Theatre
(35 W. 4th St.)

NYU Steinhardt’s Dance Education, Drama Therapy, Educational Theatre, Jazz Studies, and Vocal Performance programs pay tribute to Harriet Tubman, a leading abolitionist.

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Amanda Wicks
Amanda Wicks
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